Feature film review
Written by: Usher Morgan | Directed by: Usher Morgan | Genre: Crime, Drama | Length: 102 minutes
Never mind that you know what's going to happen - it's still a blast to watch.
More of a modern day western than a drama, I was delighted with the style of "Pickings" from writer, director Usher Morgan. This film is the mother of all cliched movies. Those jokes you make watching "other" films, when you know exactly how something is going to look and play out, is the total vibe you get watching this. "Pickings" is a mob movie crossed with some excellent Tarantino films, and a splash of some random early Eastwood title to add spice. You may think this just some random attempt to emulate other excellent films - and you would be right. That doesn't make this any more of a blast to watch. And in terms of indie productions? This one is done shockingly well. As I wrote, I was delighted.
Jo Lee just wants a normal life. An escape from her violent past. So she does what any person looking to start anew does. Packs up her family, moves far away and opens a bar called Pickings. Their local pub is seemingly doing great until Jo Lee is shaken down by a group of mobsters. With the help of her brother, they "deal" with the threat but end up with more than they bargain for. What ensues is a game of cat and mouse until the unthinkable happens, forcing Jo Lee to reconnect with her estranged sisters and declare war. Did I mention that herself and her siblings created, and led a notorious criminal syndicate known as the three dames? Without giving away much more than I already have, let me just write that "the three dames" weren't known for their kindness, and by the end of "Pickings" all hell will break lose. Let the games begin.
As mentioned above, this was a surprisingly good film considering I expected near every scene; every shot it felt like. Looking for that close-up of spurs on boots? It's here. How about a cliche cowboy? Just look at the picture above and there he is. "Pickings" works so well because it relies on the familiar to navigate it's scenes. This is an over the top, balls to the wall fun time. No question. I can honestly say that this is the only film in memory that makes stereotyping so damn fun. Never mind that you know what's going to happen - it's still a blast to watch. The cast themselves, led by Elyse Price, are all marvelous in a way that will have you groaning and smiling at the same time. Again, just look at the above picture with Joel Bernard as Boon. He looks like a cowboy right? He is! That includes the way he speaks and moves. I can honestly write that this title is so ridiculous it's awesome. I wish I could name off every single cast member, but there are just so many. Long story short is that everyone does the trick - keeping you fully aware of the world Usher Morgan is showing you; and what a beautifully filmed world it is. If I did have gripe - it would be the black and white presentation of our expected bad guy Sam Barone, played nicely by Yaron Urbas. It was a cool touch, to go along with the nicely done cartoon work, but got old really fast. I kept waiting for the black and white element to drop. It never did. Well, until the bitter end... but that doesn't count. Other than that this title has an excellent array of cool, and stylish visual effects. Some looking strangely devilish.
The short of it is this. "Pickings" will find solid ground on a good number of film lovers. There really is something for everyone, and everyone will find something to enjoy with this. For a micro budgeted, indie title - "Pickings" offers a "lot" of bang for the buck. It's fun. It's exciting and, dare I say... even sexy. One of the better indie titles I've seen in the last year. Easily.
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